By the time Camille Van Patten was 21 years old, she was ready to retire from a career as a loan officer. "I was boring,” she told Civilized recently. “I started young, went into the family business, bought my own house at 18. I loved my job. I was slaying it. Then I just woke up one day and thought, ‘I want to go and be like a 21 year old.’”
Now, several years later, Van Patten finds herself slaying it once more at the helm of King Chameleons - a company that caters to the 21 year old in everyone.
King Chameleons originally became known for cannabis-infused brownie and cookie mixes, which, like traditional store-bought mixes, require only an egg and yield gooey warm-from-the-oven edibles.
The company then found a second hit in its Wowie pops — Otter Pop-type frozen treats that pack a perfect beach day punch at 20 mgs of THC each, and send you back to the barefooted days of summer vacation.
But when California launched its recreational marijuana market in January, King Chameleons products were no longer compliant. So like many small cannabis business owners, Van Patten and her partner had to temporarily halt distribution to dispensaries while they worked to meet new state regulations.
Rather than wait around idly for business to pick back up, Van Patten returned to her passion for baking, and began focusing on cannabis catering for events. Word of mouth quickly spread about her signature medicated cakes, baked goods, breads, and pastas.
Van Patten now finds her cooking at the center of a number of unlikely events. At each of them, her infused foods help facilitate the best things a good meal has to offer: comfort, elevated spirits, and a strong sense of community. She regularly provides snacks for a poker group of 50-60 year olds, who order a mix of medicated and non-medicated foods, so that everyone can indulge as they ante up.
On top of that, she has a recurring gig catering the Shabbat dinner at a California temple’s youth group, which is attended mostly by people in their twenties. There, her kosher medicated foods are paid for as part of a grant from the synagogue, aimed at keeping young people engaged in Judaism’s traditions. “They look at this as a way to boost people’s involvement,” says Van Patten. “There’s nothing saying you can’t smoke weed. You can be progressive, and still keep the things that are important in your religion moving.”
Van Patten also finds herself catering weddings, often filling requests to make wedding cakes that are tiered with the appropriate amount of dosage, micro-dosage, or non-dosage), depending on what the guest wants. In this way, she is able to bring both cannabis and non-cannabis users together.
“The wedding thing was a little surprising,” says Van Patten, but so far nobody has gotten offended by her adding a cannabis twist to the festivities. “No one seems weird. The parents are happy. It’s been great.”
And Van Patten is happy because the cannabis catering gig is helping her and her partner realize their business dream. “We wanted something we could build together,” says Van Patten.
And there's no end to that growth in sight since the King Chameleons baking mixes and Wowie pops will be available in California dispensaries again in May.